Celebrating Black History Month in Waco

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Waco Mom – Camille Wilder gives us a history lesson and helpful links to community opportunities and black-owned, Waco businesses that we encourage you support not just this month, but all the time!

Some History About Black History Month

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their role in U.S. History.

Black HistoryIt started as “Negro History Week,” created by Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. They chose the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

In the following decades, mayors across the country started issuing yearly proclamations recognizing “Negro History Week.” President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, encouraging the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Did You Know? Waco has some very rich and significant African American History

Doris Miller, a native of Waco, served as Cook Third Class aboard the battleship West Virginia during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. After carrying his wounded captain to safety, Miller manned a .50-caliber machine gun, having no training, and fired at attacking planes. He was the first African American awarded the Navy Cross, the third-highest honor awarded by the U.S. Navy at the time for “valor beyond his training and assignment.” You can find out more about Waco’s very own WWII hero Doris Miller and visit his memorial right here in Waco.

Photo courtesy of Waco Parks and Recreation

Paul Quinn College is the oldest historically black college west of the Mississippi River. The school’s initial purpose was to educate freed slaves and their children. A group of African Methodist Episcopal preachers founded the school in Austin in 1872. It moved to Waco in 1877. They taught freedmen blacksmithing, carpentry, tanning, and saddle work skills. The school grew and received accreditation in 1972 with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and moved to Dallas in 1990. The Paul Quinn historic campus in Waco is now home to Quinn Middle School for Rapoport Academy, continuing to educate future generations.

Take a Black History Month Walking Tour! Or take part in other opportunities to learn and celebrate Black History Month!

Baylor University is hosting a free, guided walking tour for Black History Month on Saturday, February 19, from 10 a.m.-noon. For more information, click here!

Black History Month Calendar of Events

Supporting Black-Owned Businesses

While Black History Month provides a tremendous opportunity to highlight Black-owned businesses, I believe supporting minority-owned businesses should be something we do regularly. And Waco is fortunate to have some incredible Black-owned businesses. Let us know if there are others we may have missed!

Artist-N-U 
Baki’s Hair Salon
The Blasian Asian 
Boardwalk On Elm 
Cadae Tea 
Clase Vintage and Goods 
Da’Shack Farmer’s Market (seasonal farmer’s market open March-June)
Dion’s Secret Closet
Divine Cuts & Styles
Dos Mundos Spud Shack
Flower and Ink Designs
Fluff Wash + Fold
Footprintz Dance Company
Friday’s Seafood and More
The Heir’s Table
Jockey Club Barber Shop
Mac House
Mama and Papa B’s BBQ
Marilyn’s Gift Gallery
Mo Cookies
Oh My Juice
Only Believe Parties & Play Center
Organic Creations
PeeWee’s Crab cakes On the Go
Pop’s Lemonade 
Po’Boy Place 
Prosperity Tax Service
Prosperity Travel
RocMyStyle Barber Shop
Samson Pro Movers
Sascee’s Southern Eatery
Slow Burn Mobile Cigar Lounge
Symphony Candle Co.
SWEEP My Home
THRST Coffee
Todd’s Flowers
Tru Jamaica 
Waffle Chic Waco 
310’s Kitchen
4 Sons Trucking, Inc.

I encourage you to take some time and celebrate Black History Month in and around Waco, because Black History truly is part of American History.